A Wearer of Many Hard Hats? Being an Effective Freelancer in the Construction Industry


Making your name for yourself in any industry is hard- making a name for yourself as a freelancer is even harder! To become an effective freelancer, you’ve got to have a wide variety of skills, and this means that you’ve got to have the right skills in place, while also ensuring that you can promote yourself effectively. Freelancing is great, but it is undoubtedly the hardest way to make a living, especially in an oversubscribed industry like construction. But if you are looking to make a significant impact in this industry, you can learn a number of effective tactics. Let’s show you how you can make a difference and a name for yourself in the construction industry. 

The Right Networking Tactics

Networking is is something that everybody has to get under their belt. It’s a skill that we must recognise that forms a basis in every single industry. Whether you are creating an elevator pitch or a unique selling proposition, the benefits of networking are about advertising yourself. 

To make a name for yourself in construction, you must know how to promote yourself in the right ways. This means looking at the big wide world and understanding which tactic works best in any given situation. You could easily use printed square business cards to give out at every networking meeting, but this is where you have to embody a solid mix of promoting yourself in the real world as well as online. 

You can find many people on LinkedIn that are constantly networking by commenting on other people’s threads, but when you see them in real life, they are a shrinking violet. Remember that when you are networking, always put forward that same personality, regardless of the medium.

Learning to Thrive as a Freelancer

A freelancer in construction can work on different projects. We can look back to the recession in 2009, which provided a lot of people with a short sharp shock and they soon refused to enter the white-collar disciplines of the construction industry. This is where a freelancer can fill certain skills gaps. 

A freelancer can jump from project to project, but they have to learn how to thrive. We can do this by understanding how to conserve our finances, but also recognise the areas that are in demand. For example, quantity surveyors are in short supply at the moment, and freelancers can earn up to 40% more than their permanent working counterparts. 

But as a freelancer, it’s not just about the money, it’s about making sure that you can go into a sector that can yield a significant return over time. One of the biggest mistakes freelancers make is by working to fulfil a short-term need. This is great for the client, but not for the freelancer.

Focus on Quality of Work

Freelancers are given short shrift- they are deemed to be the type of people who are not committed to the bigger picture or end goal. This is why many construction companies try to bring on full-time workers because they think they can buy dedication. 

Freelance professionals are more than aware of the nature of the construction industry. This is why freelancers are always careful to guarantee a high-quality service. Because this doesn’t just help them and the client now, but secure future work. By bringing extra value to a project, it provides a fresh pair of eyes and a different way of working. Compare this to a full-time worker who has got into a rut and only works in a certain way. 

But this is not all. Employees hesitate because of the rates that freelancers command, however, one of the greatest advantages freelancers have is that they may charge a salary that goes beyond the basic amount, but we have to show clients the true cost to the permanent member of staff. 

When we consider commission, benefits and perks, as well as insurance, this will inflate the cost of a permanent member of staff. You should also recognise that when you are promoting yourself the cost of upskilling a permanent member of staff in something that you already know is going to save the client money. 

The professional expertise you bring to the table shows a practical solution that fills in the gaps left by permanent members of staff. Consider yourself an extra resource to help a project across the finishing line. 

Navigating the Negativities of a Freelancer

Freelancing can be lucrative, but there’s no holiday pay, healthcare, and ever company benefits. But this is why, as a freelancer, you have a higher daily rate. This reflects the higher risk. Because there is a lack of job security, you have to make sure you are selling yourself for the right amount. 

As a freelancer, you may work with clients for a certain amount of time during the year, but there are going to be fallow periods. There is that initial attractive paper packet, but you also have the benefit of leaving a project if there are any issues or delays. But this means you’ve got to consult legal specialists to ensure that any contract you put out there guarantees you are paid according to the work you complete.

Is it Worth Being a Freelancer in the Construction Industry? 

The industry has a wide variety of construction roles, from senior surveyor to site manager, and everything in between- this means that if you are a flexible individual who knows how to work effectively, you will be able to reap the rewards. 

For many people, becoming a freelancer is the most effective way to earn a living in a competitive environment. As a freelancer, you can be a flexible individual, which means you can enjoy a variety of different projects so you get variety as the spice of life. However, you must remember that a freelancer life is about going where the money is. 

Think about yourself as a commodity, and make sure you’re not underselling yourself. But also realise what it takes to make a name for yourself in the construction industry as a freelancer.


Latest Issue

BDC 317 : Jun 2024